Former world marathon champion Douglas Wakiihuri was the 4th Kenyan to win the Conferment of His Majesty Japanese Emperor’s decoration “the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays.”
The former London marathon champion had achieved a lot in his running career, specifically in marathon running as he serves Wakiihuri, who serves as the official coach for the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta.
His conferment came on June 11th 2021 when H.E. Mr. Horie Ryoichi, Ambassador of Japan to Kenya, bestowed the Japanese decoration of “the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays” upon Mr. Wakiihuri on behalf of the Government of Japan, at the Official Residence of the Ambassador.
The award was first awarded to the Late Wangare Mathai, Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed and Ambassador Dennis Awori.
The ceremony attracted top government and officials led by Amina, Athletics Kenya president General Jackson Tuwei and acting National Olympics Committee of Kenya Secretary General Mr. Francis Mutuku among others.
The decoration was conferred by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan on 29th of April, the 3rd year of Reiwa (2021) to acknowledge Mr. Wakiihuri’s great contribution to the development and promotion of the bilateral relationship between Japan and Kenya in the sporting and cultural fields.
Mr. Wakiihuri paved way for the practice of running for Japanese works team as a foreigner; being the first Kenyan to do so and now it has become common practice in Japan to see foreign athletes training with young Japanese athletes who go on to become world’s leading marathon runners.
This practice, till today, has provided a lot of stimuli and dreams for Japanese youngsters. And after retirement, Mr. Wakiihuri has been positively engaging in boosting the bilateral cultural relationship
between Japan and Kenya and extending cooperative support on various occasions, such as the organisation of the Nairobi Sotokoto Marathon.
During the conferment, Ambassador Horie conveyed his warm congratulations to Mr. Wakiihuri for his arduous and continuous engagement for the advancement of the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
Touching upon Mr. Wakiihuri’s unique talent for singing, Ambassador praised the exquisite incorporation of Japanese culture in his songs, which exemplifies his distinguished role of bridging the two countries.
Mr. Wakiihuri, in his remarks, expressed his gratitude to the people of Japan, saying that “I was passed a Tasuki (sash), a sign of responsibility from Japanese people to continue running in the race of life.
This decoration is not only for me but for all of you who cheered for me all through the race. As I stand on the podium today, I extend my sincere gratitude for His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, the Government of Japan, Ambassador Horie, those who are present here today and all the people who have supported me to date”.
Ambassador Horie Ryoichi wished Mr. Wakiihuri, a great athlete and a great singer, the continued success and good health.
After the ceremony, Ambassador Horie and Madam Yuko entertained the guests with several songs in English, Japanese and Swahili and in return Mr. Wakiihuri performed unique songs incorporating Japanese “Kansha”